> The Year in Review 2009 – Best Albums

Best albums lists come in various sizes. Some are top 10, 25 & even 50. As I put together my list of best albums of the year I was surprised at how long the the list got. So here are my top 27?!
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beggars
Thrice – Beggars
Beggars the follow up to Thrice’s ambitious Alchemy Index ep’s does not disappoint. Dustin Kensrue masterfully weaves his Christian faith and worldview into the songs in a way that makes his songs accessable to all audiences. Take this line from All the World is Mad

We can’t medicate man to perfection again
We can’t legislate peace in our hearts
We can’t educate sin from our souls, it’s been there from the start

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u2cover
U2 – No Line On the Horizon
In an era of declining CD sales, this much anticipated album did not sell as fast as previous U2 releases, but it may be the best album for the band since the Joshua Tree.

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paper route
Paper Route – Absence
Paper Route brings  all the pieces together in this melodic electronic/rock masterpiece.
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morning
Mae – (m)orning
Mae embarked on a project to release a song a month with the themes of morning, afternoon and evening. The proceeds for the song downloads going to charity. Not only did this help a family build a house it also yielded some pretty good songs. The first 4 songs and some bonus tracks were released as the (m)orning ep. The highlight of the ep was the bonus track Fisherman Song.

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one of these days

Joy Williams – One of These Days EP
It was quite a year for Joy Williams. She makes a come back with 3 ep’s and a new band (The Civil Wars). Broadening her musical pallet & audience Ms. Williams is poised for the next stage of her musical career.

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futureofforestry_travelep
Future of Forestry – Travel EP
It seems as if everyone is doing some sort of themed ep these days. The goods news is this series is off to a good start with the Travel EP

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come o spirit
Come O Spirit – Various Artists
Imagine some of the best indie/folk singer songwriters singing classic hymns and spiritual songs. Singers include David Bazen, Rosie Thomas, Denison Witmer, Damien Jurado, Shara Worden, Leigh Nash and J Tillman. The execution is even better than the concept.

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silver lining
We Shot the Moon – Silver Lining
Even better than last year’s Fear & Love, but still not the big hit they deserve to be , there is no need to look for a Silver Lining in these near perfect pop songs.

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matkearney_citybw
Mat Kearney – City of Black & White
12 strong pop/rock songs that might remind you at times of  Coldplay, Tom Petty and U2. The album has some pretty great lines and here is a sampling …

“and everyone’s talking about change on the airwaves” – All I Have
“I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees – Closer To Love
“oh love it’s easy if you don’t try to please me if you don’t want to see me anymore” – Here We Go Again
“if i was wrong would you show me where all that i lost can be found” – Straight Away

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ghosts of the past
Starflyer 59 – Ghosts of the Future
Collecting the various ep’s , b-sides, and vinyl collections to this 2 disc set is the ultimate Starflyer 59 collectors dream. The covers of Please Please Let Me Get What I Want and Under the Milky Way alone are worth the price of admission.

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viva voce rose city
Viva Voce – Rose City
The husband and wife duo (yeah I know they added two members to the band)  are back with their most accessible and consistent set of songs yet.

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relient-k-forget-and-not-slow-down
Relient K – Forget and Not Slow Down
This album succeeds because Relient K is able to please longtime fans with their great pop/punk music and yet look to the future by mixing in hints of indie rock.

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hello hurricane
Switchfoot – Hello Hurricaine
This album looks, feels and sounds like Switchfoot’s Joshua Tree.  The band is rocking as hard as ever and still asking all the questions we come to expect from them.

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acb
As Cities Burn – Hell or High Water
An album filled with passion that resides somewhere in the post/hardcore region between screamo and indie.

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we will all be lifted
Stephen Wesley GuilesWe Will All Be Lifted
We will All Be Lifted is a real gem and may one of the best album’s released this year that most people will not hear. Musically understated, the album is in the same neighborhood as artists such as  Bon Iver, Denison Witmer and early Pedro the Lion. There is an uplifting nature to theses songs that is often missing from albums in the genre.

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armistice
MuteMath – Armistice
While some said MuteMath traded in originality for a more radio friendly sound, this album is more musically complex and challenging than most top 40 bands. If you need further proof check out the 9 minute long Burden that closes this album.

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Paramore-BrandNewEyes
Paramore – Brand New Eyes
The turmoil that nearly broke up the band resulted in this strong follow-up to Riot!

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jars of clay
Jars of Clay – The Long Fall Back To Earth
Another in a long line of consistently strong albums.

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storyboards

Sleeping At Last – Storyboards
Lush, orchestrated,  beautiful… just a few of the words to describe the band’s latest album.

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saxon shore
Saxon Shore -It Doesn’t Matter
I am not normally a fan of the post/rock genre but this is one of the most beautiful albums released this year.

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ok bear
Jeremy Enigk – OK Bear

This year saw Sunny Day Real Estate’s re-release their first two, genre defining albums and the band reforms for some reunion shows. It is probably no surprise that lead vocalist Jeremy Enigk’sOK Bear sounds so much like a Sunny Day Real Estate record.

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i was a king album
I Was A King – S/T
Power pop from Norway. With some help from Sufjan Stevens and Daniel Smith, the album boasted two of my most listened to songs of the year Norman Bleik and It’s All you. As a bonus there is a great cover of the Larry Norman classic Hard Luck Bad News.

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southeast engine
Southeast Engine From the Forest To the Sea
You will swear this is the latest Violent Femmes album!

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stockholm syndrome
Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome
There is always some sort of controversy with a Derek Webb album and this one is no exception. This time the real news is the change in direction musically…

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monster ep

The Almost – Monster Monster
No sophomore slump here. More of a band recording this time out, ssome great singles like Lonely Wheel and Hand’s the album is strong start to finish.

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dear future
The Fold – Dear Future, Come Get Me
The Fold’s last release was the electronic Stargazer Ep. Now independent,  the band returns to the sound they are known for. …but deliver their strongest album yet. (and don’t forget that  Miley Cyrus cover song!)

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mewithoutyou
mewithoutYou – It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright!
The band settles into a neo/hippie/folk groove on their latest album.

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3 thoughts on “> The Year in Review 2009 – Best Albums

  1. Great list. I had picked up the Shara Worden track on Come O Spirit… just picked up the Bazan track now.

    I bet Derek Webb’s will make my list. It’s a great record. Jars of Clay’s is also really good, and I’m usually hit or miss with them. Jeremy’s was good, but I miss SDRE and I think I’m comparing it too much to them (it was good to see them on their short reunion tour this fall).

    ~Dan

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